Showcasing Kent, Ohio and the surrounding
Northeastern Ohio Region.

AKRON ART MUSEUM 2019 Exhibitions

Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
June 29, 2019 – September 22, 2019

Dread & Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World

DREAD & DELIGHT: FAIRY TALES IN AN ANXIOUS WORLD brings together the work of contemporary artists who use classical fairy tales to address the complexities of our lives  today. While some embrace the stories’  promises of transformation and happy  endings, others plumb the stories’ more  troubling elements—poverty, addiction, and exploitations of power.

All Fur III Natalie Frank, 2011—14, gouache and colored chalk on paper; 30 x 22 in. each, Private collection © Natalie Frank, photo by Farzad Orwang

No matter their approach, each of the artists dismantles and reassembles the tales in imaginative ways. In a 1980s arcade-like video by Ericka Beckman, the story of Cinderella becomes a means to talk about women’s proscribed social roles; in Timothy Horn’s nearly life-size carriage made of crystalized candy, it becomes an opportunity to address queer identity and notions of the so called rags-to-riches American dream. In Alison Saar’s tar and gold-leaf covered sculpture Blonde Dreams, the story of Rapunzel becomes an avenue for reconsidering racial constructions of beauty; in MK Guth’s 1800-foot-long braid Ties of Protection and
Safe Keeping
, it becomes the site for a conversation about values and desires.

Mother Load Timothy Horn, 2008, plywood, painted steel, aluminum foil, polystyrene foam, hot glue, acrylic medium, rock sugar, and shellac, 6 x 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 ft., Courtesy of the artist © Timothy Horn, photo by Jason Schmidt

Many of the fairy tales featured in Dread & Delight will be readily familiar. Others are lesser known and provide an opportunity to explore the rich breadth of the fairy tale tradition. Throughout the exhibition, one finds that the artists have engaged with fairy tales across time—from early Italian, French, and German anthologies; to Walt Disney’s 20th-century animations; to postmodern retellings by authors such Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. Collectively, they remind us that fairy tales have never been merely children’s tales. Rather, these age-old stories of wonder are powerful tools for making sense of life’s stark—and often dark—realities.

Dread & Delight is accompanied by a scholarly publication charting five decades of fairy tales in the visual arts and featuring a new work of fairy tale fiction by Pulitzer Prize finalist  Kelly Link.

Dread & Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World was organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North  Carolina, Greensboro and curated by Dr. Emily Stamey. Its presentation in Akron is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, the John P. Murphy Foundation and Buckingham, Doolittle &  Burroughs, LLC. Media sponsorship provided by Western Reserve PBS.

Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented

Through September 8, 2019
Judith Bear Isroff Gallery

Mernet Larsen (b. 1940) makes intriguing, humor-and tension-infused paintings featuring geometric figures that inhabit space in ways that defy gravity and conventional viewpoints. The artist stages ordinary scenes—people playing cards or eating dinner, a faculty meeting, reading in bed—but constructs them with vertiginous, skewed spatial relationships that convey a sense of precariousness. The disorienting treatment of perspective places the viewer inside and outside of the paintings at the same time, “as if they’re wearing the situation,” the artist describes. Along with the figures’ deadpan facial expressions and subtle body language, Larsen’s puzzling compositions reveal an essence of everyday human interaction. Wry, anxious and awkward, the paintings are frozen monuments that are simultaneously alien and familiar.


Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented is organized by the Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.

Reading in Bed Mernet Larsen, 2015, acrylic and mixed media on canvas,  60 x 38 1/4 in., Courtesy of Miyoung  Lee and Neil Simpkins
Drawing Hands Mernet Larsen, 2017, acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 67 1/2 x 36 1/4 in., Courtesy of Jack and Ellen Kessler
Seminar Mernet Larsen, 2011, acrylic on  canvas, 59 x 40 in., Courtesy of David Howe

Joe Vitone: Family Records

April 27—October 27, 2019
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery


Joe Vitone: Family Records is an ongoing series of portraits of photographer Joe Vitone’s relatives living in and around Akron, Ohio. Begun in 1998, this body of work documents evolving interper-sonal connections between parents and children, siblings, spouses, cousins and other relations within working class communities of the Rust Belt region. Shot each summer when the artist—now based in Austin, Texas—travels back to Ohio, this series features scenes from festivities such as birthday parties and weddings as well as intimate portraits set outside homes and workplaces. Touched by celebrations and struggles including marriage, divorce, addiction, new homes, unemployment, new jobs and babies, the lives of Vitone’s relatives reflect experiences common to families across the United States.


Joe Vitone: Family Records is organized by the  Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council and the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.

David Vitone at his garage filled with possessions of wife, Lisa, who has recently moved out to live with her parents  in north Texas, Akron, Ohio Joe Vitone, 2013, archival inkjet print, 11 x 14 in., Courtesy of the artist

Keith Morlan with son Chuck Morlan, Kenmore, Ohio  Joe Vitone, 2017, archival inkjet print, 20 x 24 in., Courtesy  of the artist